Chicken Cranberry Walnut Salad

Chicken Cranberry Walnut Salad

Far too often chicken salad ends up being a soggy, bland dish that attempts to compensate for feelings of culinary inadequacy with far too much mayonnaise. However, with the right balance of ingredients (and a bit of self-esteem) chicken salad can be bright, flavorful, and delicious. I set out to redeem years of underperforming chicken salads, and after experimenting with half a dozen recipes, I crafted a chicken salad recipe that's so good you'll want to bake your own sandwich bread to serve it on.

There are to different ways you can cook the chicken - poaching or roasting. The poaching method is faster and yields a moist, juicy chicken. The roasting method takes longer, but brings out a richer chicken flavor. Try both and see which one you like best. If you don't have white wine vinegar on hand, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If you prefer, you can also substitute grapes (cut in half) for the cranberries. For a low-carb version, omit cranberries.
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 20-45 min
  • Total: 40 min to 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Chicken Cranberry Walnut Salad

Carbohydrate Counts

Carbs per serving (18g)

Carb calculations Weight Carbs
Walnuts 120g (17g)
Celery ribs (3g)
Dried cranberries 150g (121g)
Net Weight (141g)

* Provided for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor for insulin dosing advice.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Trim any excess fat from chicken. Cook chicken via roasting or poaching method below.
  • Poaching Method
  • 2 quarts water
  • Place chicken in a stock pot and fill with water until chicken is submerged by 1 inch of water.
  • Bring to a boil. Let boil until chicken is cooked completely through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from pot using a pair of tongs. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Shred chicken into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Proceed with remaining ingredients.
  • Roasting Method
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place chicken on foil-lined baking sheet.
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lightly brush chicken with vegetable oil until completely coated. Lightly sprinkle chicken with salt.
  • Roast chicken in oven until an instant read thermometer shows thickest part of chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160°F, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Shred chicken into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Proceed with remaining ingredients.
  • Preparing the Salad
  • 120g / 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Toast and chopped walnuts. Place in a large bowl with chicken.
  • 2 celery ribs, diced into small bits (1 cup)
  • 150g / 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Add remaining ingredients to bowl and stir well until combined.
  • Serve on sandwich bread with Romaine lettuce or in a bowl.
  • If making ahead, or if you have leftovers, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If using homemade mayonnaise, the chicken salad will keep for three days. If using store bought mayonnaise, it will keep for up to a week.
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